Wood is a natural product that varies in size, density and moisture content. It’s important to choose the right type of wood for your oven to make sure your pizza cooks evenly. Here are some different kinds of wood and how they affect the Ooni oven:
Mesquite is a good choice for the Ooni oven. It burns hot and straight, giving a good cook from edge to edge when the pizza stone is placed in the middle of the oven. Mesquite burns longer than other hardwoods and doesn’t need to be replenished as often. Because it’s dense it holds more heat than other woods, so pizzas baked on it will cook faster than those on alder.
The taste from using mesquite to bake pizzas is a little stronger than the other hardwoods. It’s very aromatic, and most people like the taste. It’s a great choice for all recipes but especially good for pizzas with robust flavors.
Maple is a very sweet wood. It cooks relatively fast, so it’s good for pizzas that cook quickly, like New York style and Chicago deep dish. The sweetness of maple pairs well with the thin crust and mozzarella. Maple isn’t as aromatic as other woods and doesn’t have a strong taste all on its own, so don’t be afraid to use it when other woods are less intense.
Hickory is a very hearty wood with a strong, thick flavor. It works well on pizzas with strong flavor combinations like Chicago deep dish and New York style. You might want to use it for any pizza you want to have extra taste for, such as pepperoni pizzas or ones with tomato sauce and oregano.
Oak is simply one of the most common hardwoods for cooking. It heats up quickly without needing much replenishment or moisture, and burns evenly with good flavor. It’s a good, easily accessible wood for all styles of pizzas. It’s a more neutral taste without a strong aroma, so you can use it with other stronger woods.
Choosing Wood For Your Ooni
When choosing wood for your Ooni, look for dry and well cured pieces. Damp pieces of wood will not produce a hot enough fire to cook pizzas properly, and the less water in the wood, the more efficient and longer lasting your fire will be.
Hardwood firewood has been dried and seasoned for at least six months before it’s put up for sale. Some woods are ready to use as little as six weeks after they’re cut down. Quality wood that’s been properly dried and seasoned is free of any defects, so it will cook evenly and produce a good fire all the time.
Different types of wood require different methods of seasoning. Brittle woods like maple, alder and ash need to be dried slowly over a low heat for several months to remove the moisture from their cells and make them brittle enough for firewood burning. Loosely-seasoned woods resist heat better than those that are more tightly packed, so they can be dried and burned almost immediately after cutting.
Different woods will add different flavors to your pizzas, so choose one that fits with the flavors you want. If you’re not sure which wood to use, it’s always good to start with oak. That way you’ll be able to decide whether or not you like the flavor of more intense woods before burning through a whole stack!
Even though wood is a renewable resource, some sources are better than others. Many people have begun the practice of harvesting trees from their own property.